Canadians Are Crazy

Did I mention that Canada had the second largest delegation at XTERRA Worlds this year? Well, after the race it seems that the entire Canadian triathlon community has crushed my twitter, email and Facebook accounts with support for going down in a blaze of glory. I love you guys so much! Here is just one example:

Dear Melanie,

Just want to say how much of an inspiration you are and how courageous your performance was this past weekend. I am more impressed that you left it all out there and DNF’ed than had you won!

You make me proud to be a Canadian.

Sincerely,

Mike

Insert my tears of pride here. However, no plans to try to inspire with that particular strategy next year. That last 35 yards was expensive. ūüôā Thanks guys. Oh Canada! xxoo

My Wednesday At The Olympics

On Sunday I finished the last of three build weeks before I was scheduled to take a rest.¬† I was starting to show some cracks but when I compare this block to the first one I did in January, there was monumental improvement.¬† I managed to hold the same kind¬†of volume with some higher end aerobic intensity so my fitness has gone up quite a bit.¬† However, I am still not fast.¬† This was fully evident when I was dropped when it got hard going up the Malahat and I got dropped in the first kilometer of Hatley Castle 8km.¬† Although I am sure I am better than both of those performances, they were both good reminders that you can’t do volume and be fast and be Melanie¬†all at the same time.¬† I was on struggle street by the end.¬†¬† I was still pretty stoked about the overall picture though:¬† I am swimming a lot better and have appreciated some positive feedback from Ron even when I have pushed the bar up and gotten disappointed with some days.¬† Small victories people!¬† Don’t overlook them –¬†as I so often make the mistake of doing when I decide I can be even better than I thought.¬† Also, although Magali took a ginormous chunk of time out of me in the first kilometer of the 8km, essentially running out of sight in 1000m, I did manage to claw back some time in order to see her again at 6km, only to lose probably the same again up the last hill when she probably had a kick and I decided to cruise it in.. alone… as another guy sprinted past me -haha!¬† She is a very quick runner and I was just happy that I could see her during the race, something that would not have been possible a year ago, fresh or not.¬† And the cycling… well, my riding is¬†okay/good but I am doing a lot so when fresh people fresh-leg me, what can you do?¬† I got in some awesome training while I parked my ego solidly in my back pocket.¬† The awesome thing about Victoria is there is this insane wealth of talent so no matter what you do, a group ride, a local run race, a dip in the pool – there is someone with a big giant trophy on their mantle at home waiting to kick your butt.¬† I love it.¬† This has been a good winter of training and not only because of the weather.

So because I had a rest planned, when my friend Alan from USANA invited me to go watch the 5000m women’s speedskating finals I happily packed my bags to head to Vancouver.¬† I was treated to a night in a hotel so I would have time to do some shopping, run in the Capilano Dam trails, eat breakfast at the Elbow Room and go to the oval to enjoy some skating in amongst the people watching.¬† The most fun were the Dutch fans (I almost wanted to sit with them given my Dutch heritage but I could only admire from afar because I was going to be a Clara fan!).n¬† Unfortunately, my camera is junk and every single photo is garbage.¬† Time for a new one.

It is amazing how emotional the Olympics are.¬† I have raced at numerous World Championships events but none have had the weight of a country on an athlete’s shoulders like the Olympics do.¬† It would be so incredible/stressful/powerful to experience that.¬† I had so much fun cheering for the Canadian girls:¬† Clara, Cindy and Kristina and all three were classy, fantastic and powerful.¬† I was proud to see such sportsmanlike and poised women kick some ass.¬† Very cool.¬† Way to go girls!¬† Especially Clara.¬† Wow – class of her own in terms of sports history.

Now I am back and getting ready to join Houshang’s group for a four day training camp (http://pacificcyclingcentre.ca/news/article.html?d=news/2010/02/12/140/).¬† This should be just the added boost I need to get my riding up to where it needs to be.¬† Although I am inching closer I am behind the amount of riding I did last year.¬† That was necessary to effect the changes in the swim/run that I needed to do to get here.¬† This is why I am not racing until later.¬† I wanted to do the most enormous body of work over the off-season possible, push my start to late and in so doing, race at another level.¬† Hopefully it all works according to plan.

Happy training!

 

Canada Blocking Climate Change Talks?

If all of this is true, then explain to me why anyone is voting for Conservatives from Alberta to run our country?¬† I sure didn’t vote for those people…

The Urgent Threat to World Peace is … Canada

When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world’s peace-keeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country’s government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee’s tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become, and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this fight, that I’ve broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to Toronto.

So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petrostate. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.

Until now I believed that the nation which has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.

The complete article as written for the Guardian newpaper:  http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/12/01/the-urgent-threat-to-world-peace-is-%E2%80%A6-canada/

Ross The Winner

Lots of success in the family lately.

Ross recently took his other girlfriend to the Oceanside Overdrive Show N’ Shine car show and she brought home first place in the 1960s modified category.¬† There were probably more than 400 cars in that¬†show.¬† Not bad for a guy who built the car from a hulking ugly pile of scrap metal to a super hotrod with his bare hands.¬† Pretty proud of him.¬† Although…. I still don’t REALLY get it.¬† I just try to be supportive… with limitsWink.

It is a 1965 Ford Falcon with a Ford Racing million¬†horsepower or somesuch kind of motor in it.¬† I don’t know.¬† It is black.¬† It makes lots of noise and goes fast.¬† It looks really cool.

Ross the big winner next to his baby.

Brother-in-law Bruce was the co-pilot because honestly, there is only so much standing around talking about gaskets and sparkplugs and yip and whatever that I can handle.  Bruce is a better fit for the job.

You think making a living as a triathlete would be hard… this car business is certainly all about passion and love!

Calm Before The Storm – Meditating On The Farm

Saturday is go-time for #6 in the XTERRA US Cup Series.¬† The race is being held in Little Rock, Arkansas at Burns Park.¬† The course is fabulous – as soon as you get out of the water.¬† The swim, um, yuck.¬† Luckily there is a fantastic pool at University of Arkansas so I can do all my pre-race training in a chlorinated environment.¬† I didn’t sustain an injury like Conrad’s¬†but I did manage to cut the bottom of my foot in the James River in Richmond as well so my big toe has been a headache this week and more nasty water was not going to make things better.¬†

I have had the chance to ride a number of loops on the bike course and I really, really like it.¬† The run course seems incredibly long but I think that was the result of me procrastinating training up to the point where the mercury rose to 100 degrees and I could feel the bottom of my shoes melting to the pavement.¬† There is a very long run on pavement to the trail I couldn’t find so it is going to be HOT.¬† Very, very hot.¬† I think the water is hot too.¬† My favorite.

To keep sharp for this race I wanted to do a bit of intensity but not too much to be tired given we only have a six day break between races.¬† I was going to do efforts Wednesday on the course but it was so hot my heartrate went to 183 bpm without even trying on the hills so I decided just to ride it steady.¬† I did two laps both in 45 minutes¬†trying to NOT go hard so I think we will be below 40 minutes on race day.¬† My run was a run/walk so it can’t even count as training.¬† I have done two swims this week, one with 24×50 on 60/50/40 as ez/race pace/fast then 1000 pull as 50 ez/50 fast, 50ez/100 fast and 50 ez/200 fast x2.¬† Yesterday I did 16×50 as 3 race pace on :45/1 ez on 60 then 5×200 as 100 fast/100 cruisy swimming¬† 1:07s for the 100s.¬† Gotta love yards.¬† Today I slept in.¬† Bike work, ez spin (maybe try to find the run) and a swim.

So while I distract myself from how freaking hot it is here I thought I would entertain you with a baby scrapbook of my farm.¬† Yep, I have nursed these little seeds to adolescence and I am super stoked they aren’t dead yet.¬† Ross did an incredible job of building me some raised beds so in addition to my patio farm I now have a backyard farm as well.¬† We had to put fencing around the plants in the backyard as the deer tend to use it as a salad bar hence the black netting.¬† Read more for pictures….

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My Man of Movember

Girlfriends and wives worldwide are celebrating! Today marks the end of Movember… an annual tribute to the ‘tache and prostate cancer fundraiser obviously invented by a Burt Reynolds impersonator with altruistic character.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about read this from http://www.movember.com :

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a charity event held during November each year.

At the start of Movember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants, known as Mo Bros, have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache, raising money and awareness along the way.

Movember culminates at the end of the month at the Gala Partés. These glamorous and groomed events will see Alex Trebek look-a-likes battle it out on the catwalk for their chance to take home the prestigious Man of Movember title.

Ross managed to raise more than $360 for rocking this look:

Ick! Moustaches are absolutely BAD… BAD!!!

Lots of fun in Movember. We also had a trip to San Francisco and I have loads of photos from Hawaii I am making a mini movie of so stay tuned for the offseason recap. Of course all of the photos from San Francisco are horrid because our friend that came with Ross for the weekend. Thanks so much Todd for putting up with Ross and his little friend…

The boys from the bike store were in on it as well so READ MORE to see photos of more MOs…

 

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If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. When I was flying home from the East coast on Monday I was thinking about “why”. I was really nervous about Ross’s health so I never once even thought of the fact I was about to miss the European tour. So now that I know he is going to be all right, mostly due to the fact he was wearing a GREAT Lazer helmet, I am again thinking about “why” I am not going over there. I really like the following quote:

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson

Maybe I don’t know right now why I am not going to be in Europe but by the end of the season it should all become clear. In the meantime, I have an enormous hole in my schedule where European travel and events once stood. With the change, first off, I will be able to attend Interbike – YAY! Second, I will have a break after Ogden which is another big bonus because I was really nervous about the travel from altitude to Europe. And third, I have NOTHING really on my schedule until Ogden aside from the Crested Butte regional XTERRA, so I have made some adjustments to my schedule….

I will be playing with my new toy over the coming weeks….

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Definition of XTERRA According To The New Melanie Dictionary of the Universe

I was recently asked to define XTERRA in my own words.

 

XTERRA

X-TERR-A [eks-tare-uh] noun; adjective;verb

1.
beyond or more than an Olympic distance triathlon; a 1500m swim, 30- 40 km mountain bike leg, 10-12 kilometer run in variable environments –adjective (an XTERRA experience)
 
2.
cooler or better than a road triathlon of any sort –noun (the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, HI)
3.
Triathlon with something extra or additional including natural hazards, uncontrollable challenges or setbacks and unexpected beauty in nature. –noun (I am planning to race the XTERRA USA and European Tour)
 
.4
To live to your ultimate potential. –verb (I am going to XTERRA as long as I possibly can)

 

I invite all of you to add your definitions in the comments section…

Brian Frank, Attacking the Canadians?

I just read the story about the lawsuit between Keat, Vine and Neben against Hammer Nutrition. They are alleging that Endurolytes were contaminated (and have tested the bottles of Endurolytes that Keat had used in two labs to prove they WERE in fact, contaminated with noradrostendione) and caused each athlete to test positive during in-competition testing. Well, the whole story sucks because who thought they would test positive taking ELECTROLYTES.. not me! It is interesting because the two sides have already headed in an ugly direction….

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